fruit trees in containers (attn. fruitnut)

captaininsanoMarch 25, 2013

I was wondering if it would be wise to purchase a few fruit trees to grow in containers with the goal of putting them in ground within the next year or two ( I rent now, and am planning on buying a house) Fruitnut I have seen that you grow in containers I am wondering if there is a time limit on having them in containers, I do know you can pretty much grow anything in a large enough container, however for the sake of my back and with the goal of being somewhat mobile enough for one person to handle I was wondering what size container could work I have few that are 24" in diameter and approx 24" deep they taper a bit toward the bottom. The real trouble here is hot weather in the summer I live in Peoria, AZ zone 9b we are regularly above 100- 110f from early May until October I can shade the container if this would help. I was planning on possibly a Fuji apple, a peach, a plum, and pear and any advice on varieties would help, I know I have to beef up the list to add pollinizers as well.

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ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)

I am using 15 gal containers to establish bare roots with the intent to plant permanently the varieties that fruit (and taste) good. I think the most you can keep a 1/2" caliper in a 15gal can before you become severely root bound is 2 years, but would like to hear input from others.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:45PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

The biggest I've planted in has been 21" wide by 19" deep. That's a two man pot even with a light weight mix unless you are an NFL linebacker. I've fruited four nectarine in that size.

My standard pot is about 15x17". That's plenty for one tree with a good mix like the 5-1-1. In summer that's a water once a day deal. But your climate is much more severe than in my greenhouse.

They would do best with a 50% shade fabric overhead and on the west. It would also help to bury the pots in summer or cover them with al foil or the like. If buried they will root down, get bigger, and be hard to dig up after two years.

The recent thread below might help.

Here is a link that might be useful: potted trees

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 3:54PM
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I think as Fruitnut mentions - you could certainly do it *IF* you can assure 2 things....

Adequate moisture
Soil temperature under some maximum....

I don't know specifically what soil temperatures will send a fruit tree into dormancy - but I know that it will happen... Exceed those temps and you first get dormancy, then death....

If I was going to keep outdoor potted fruit trees in Arizona.. I would probably do a couple things...

Dedicated irrigation in the pot.. and run it on a timer so you didn't forget to water it for a couple days and end up with dead trees...

Some sort of covering to shield the soil surface - so it at least wasn't black soil to soak up mid day sun...

The shade cloth will also help quite a bit...

Put it in a place where it's protected from the hottest afternoon sun and the super dry winds...


    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Thanks for the info I think I am going to just try two trees for now and see how they do over summer, I do have my raised beds set up on a drip system so it wont be difficult to run it to the pots I will probably have to put it on a different zone to regulate the amount of water. I have an over head shade set up over my raised beds so I will place the pots there and get shade from a western wall as well. When I was a child my parents had peach plum and apple trees as well as a blackberry arbor so I know they can handle the temps it is just the fact that the roots will be exposed to more heat being in a container and in turn lose moisture. I will keep my fingers crossed for a somewhat mild summer. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 1:52AM
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Some nurseries mark the pot on the sun side because in hot climates, the roots cook in the soil getting heated and so part of the pot is wasted. Also, they don't want to turn the pot and expose another part of the soil and roots to the sun. I like to put something around the pot and use grass clippings, leaves, hay or bark chips between to be an insulator. I think the best idea is shade cloth or lath overhead.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 10:18AM
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ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)

Hey guys,

How do you address the root binding issue associated with containers? When I have trees in containers for more than two years, the roots get so tied and twisted in the pot, that the water retention drops dramatically, and the trees become clearly stressed.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:24PM
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